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Birds page 5

Animal Stories: Herons and egrets are wonderful photography subjects, being large, visible, and very attractive. They have quite a repertoire of behaviours as well, from their territorial displays to the unusual wing-shading feeding methods of the reddish egret. The small green herons are common around Town Lake, in Austin, Texas, where I kayak frequently. Their method of fishing is to balance on the most slender of branches, then practically dive into the water as they lunge after fish. It is quite entertaining to watch. Great blue herons often hang around fishermen, waiting for handouts or the chance to steal bait or catch. They each stake out a small territory and so the birds are usually evenly spaced around the area. Herons are capable of swallowing rather large prey and I've enjoyed watching a great blue heron work hard to subdue and swallow a sizeable snake.

Great Egret (Homosassa Springs State Park, Florida)

Great Egret (Everglades National Park, Florida)

Great Egret (St. Joseph's Penninsula State Park, Florida)

Snowy Egret (Florida Gulf coast)

Snowy Egret (Everglades National Park, Florida)

Cattle Egret (central Florida)

Black-Crowned Night Heron (central Florida)

Goliath Heron (zoo)

Little Blue Heron (river in central Florida)

Great Blue Heron (Homosassa Springs State Park, Florida)

Great Blue Heron (Homosassa Springs State Park, Florida)

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